‘Poor application of progressive laws leaves India’s disabled in cold’

Experts say taking care of disability needs to form part of all policies, programs by government and private sector.

NEW DELHI (AA) – While describing India’s disability laws as progressive and a step towards empowering people with disabilities, experts believe that there was a problem in awareness and their implementation on the ground.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, coinciding with International Day of Persons with Disabilities which is being observed on Friday, Arman Ali, the executive director of the National Center for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People — a non-profit organization – said there is a need to create a large awareness campaign inclusive of persons with disabilities, government, and the private sector.

Ali, who is also part of UNESCO’s Editorial Board said India’s Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act is a “big step” towards the empowerment of persons with disabilities in India.

“It is a very progressive legislation which is in harmony with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD),” he said.

Ali, who is himself also disabled, said they were looked through a welfare approach by one government department, which has limited ownership.

“Disability has to be accepted as a cross-cutting issue and it has to be mainstreamed across all policies and programs designed and adopted by the state or the private sector players in the country,” he said.

As per Census 2011, India has a 26 million disabled population, accounting for 2.21% of the total population.

The noted activist said that because of lack of awareness, persons with disabilities “continue to miss out of education with dropouts increasing at the higher education level”, which impacts their employment prospects.

In 2015, India had launched a nationwide campaign for achieving universal accessibility for persons with disabilities.

Ali, however, maintains that the lack of awareness and political will of the leaders has hindered the implementation.

According to Ali, there is a need to create a large awareness campaign that includes persons with disabilities, the government, and the private sector.

“All the provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act should be part of the compliance for all the activities undertaken,” he said.

Ali said he wants to form a strong collaboration with governments and political parties and get disability included in all development agendas.


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